I have spent many years working with steel and it’s various forms, finishes and complications and still have years of learning to complete. There are many choices and options that are available to the modern Sculptor, Artist and Fabricator for use in field today.
If money is no object exotic and space age materials abound and modern machines can do wonders with a raw piece of steel. Water jet cutting, laser cutting, industrial bending, machines that stamp, cut, bend, etch, engrave and almost any action you can imagine are out there and ready for your idea to become reality.
Metal Forming Machine
Milling Machine For Metal
Metal Punching Machine
For the small or home shop these actions are out of reach but many can be done by hand with a minimum of tools and knowledge. For example just bending a curve or circle in steel is easy enough with a handmade jig and a vice. Hammers, pliers, measuring devices and a trained eye plus some muscle is all that is needed.
Steel can be shaped by cutting, grinding and sanding with the correct tools and accurate hand work saving money and allowing freedom of design to the artist. For my designs I use square and rectangular geometry as the angles are easy to use and after years of practice easy to set with my eyes. Geometry also is a basis of my size and shape of the work, proportions of front to side and side to depth are always measured in a multiples.
Steel Towel Hanger @ studioandolina
Steel Drawer Pull @ studioandolina
There are plenty of finishes that can be had with a minimum of effort to vary the surface of steel. I use several choices of sanding, chemical and actual type of metal to create the varieties of choice in my work. Powder coating is another option and can give you a pallet of endless color for any steel piece. This is a new direction I am exploring and really like the options available for my ideas.